Merson ‘shocked’ by Manchester United star’s omission from England squad as Southgate leaves Rashford out

Paul Merson is “surprised” that Gareth Southgate has decided to leave Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford out of the England squad for Euro 2024.

Southgate announced the Three Lions’ provisional 33-man squad on Tuesday afternoon. for the European Championship to be held in Germany,

Two of the biggest stories from his announcement were the omissions of Ajax midfielder Jordan Henderson and Man Utd forward Rashford.

Rashford has been disappointing for Man Utd this season, scoring just eight goals in 42 appearances in all competitions, but he still made seven appearances for England this season.

He was left out by Southgate against Belgium in March’s international friendlies and has now been excluded from the England manager’s training squad for the Euros.

Reacting to the news, Arsenal legend Merson insists he is “surprised” by the news because Southgate often picks his favorite players even “if they are out of form.”

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Merson said in sky sports: “I think it’s great news, great breaking news. As you say, he has played 60 international matches, he has been in tournaments, he scores goals and you can trust him. If it were any other time, you’d probably say it’s not a shock. But with Gareth, he picks people who are out of shape. Choose people even if they are not on your team. I’m really surprised.

“I know people will sit there and say ‘oh, the way he’s played’ and it hasn’t been good. But tournament football is very, very different from any other tournament.

“I would have taken him. 100% I would have chosen it. I don’t know if it has anything to do with being up here (mentally). I don’t know if Gareth has spoken to him and that’s why. I don’t know what’s going on in the boy’s life. But as a player, he has played tournaments before. It’s very important.

“Tournament football is not like any other tournament. Unlike friendlies when you play at home against Brazil: you lose rhythm, you lose and he has scored goals in tournaments. He can play on the wing and he can play on offense. He is hot. He is one of those hot players. He can be very cold, don’t get me wrong. He may be very cold, but when the boy catches fire and is hot, then he cannot be played with. “That’s what you need to win tournaments.”

Full England provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), James Trafford (Burnley).

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Jarell Quansah (Liverpool), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Curtis Jones (Liverpool), Kobbie Mainoo (Manchester United), Declan Rice (Arsenal), Adam Wharton (Crystal Palace).

Forward: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham), Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).